Science Fair Season: Twelve Kids, a Robot Named Scorch . . . and What It Takes to Win

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Overview

This is the engaging true story of kids competing in the high-stakes, high-drama world of international science fairs. Every year the Intel International Science & Engineering Fair brings together 1,500 high schoolers from more than 50 countries to compete for over $4 million dollars in prizes and scholarships. These amazing kids are doing everything from creating bionic prosthetics to conducting groundbreaking stem cell research, from training drug-sniffing cockroaches to building a nuclear reactor. In ...

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Science Fair Season: Twelve Kids, a Robot Named Scorch . . . and What It Takes to Win

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Overview

This is the engaging true story of kids competing in the high-stakes, high-drama world of international science fairs. Every year the Intel International Science & Engineering Fair brings together 1,500 high schoolers from more than 50 countries to compete for over $4 million dollars in prizes and scholarships. These amazing kids are doing everything from creating bionic prosthetics to conducting groundbreaking stem cell research, from training drug-sniffing cockroaches to building a nuclear reactor. In Science Fair Season, Judy Dutton follows twelve teens looking for science fair greatness and tells the gripping stories of their road to the big competition. Some will win, some will lose, but all of their lives are changed forever.

The Intel International Science & Engineering Fair is the most prominent science fair in the country, and it takes a special blend of drive, heart, and smarts to win there. Dutton goes inside the inner sanctum of science fair competitions and reveals the awe-inspiring projects and the competitors there. Each of the kids—ranging from a young Erin Brokovich who made the FBI watch list for taking on a big corporation, to a quietly driven boy who lives in a run-down trailer on a Navajo reservation, to a wealthy Connecticut girl who dreams of being an actress and finds her calling studying bees, to a troubled teenager in a juvenile detention facility, to the next Bill Gates—take readers on an unforgettable journey.

Along the way, Science Fair Season gives readers a glimpse of America's brightest young minds and shows how our country is still a place for inventors and dreamers—the "geeks" our future depends upon.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Dutton (Secrets from the Sex Lab) reveals the minds and hearts of the students driven to excel in high school science fairs. The Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) is the "Super Bowl of science fairs," where students present experiments in high-stakes research like nuclear fusion and genetic engineering. Participants have the chance to win money, college scholarships, and the attention of scientific heavyweights, from elite universities to NASA and the National Institutes of Health. Dutton introduces us to 12 brilliant students and explores their drive to excel. Garrett Yazzie invented a solar-powered heater to keep his family warm. Katlin Hornig thought that interacting with horses could help stressed-out cops like her father. Ryan Patterson's single-minded tinkering with robots led to a groundbreaking glove that could read and translate sign language. Dutton alternates stories of science fair legends with those of six finalists brought together at the 2009 ISEF, revealing their vision, determination, and courage—as well as the important role of supportive mentors. This saga is sure to entertain and enlighten parents, teachers, and anyone who longs to peer into the creative forces that drive the world's youngest scientists. (Apr.) Bottom of the 33rd: Hope, Redemption, and Baseball's
Mary Roach
"Dutton goes behind the scenes with twelve extraordinary kids. We are talking fourteen-year-olds who build nuclear reactors in their basements and train cockroaches to sniff for drugs. Two-year-olds who ask Santa for an extension cord. Their stories converge at the biggest science competition in the world, a sort of American Idol for geeks like me. An inspiring tale, deftly told."
Henry R. Schlesinger
"A genuine delight! It's exhilarating to see the spirit of history's great scientists in these students. Judy Dutton's tale is filled with drama and the adventure of scientific discovery. Glee with test tubes!"
Homer Hickam
"Despite the attention placed on athletics, our future will not be made by the boys and girls who play on America's lavish playing fields. Instead, everything we cherish depends on the sturdy young people who compete in the dusty halls of our science fairs. Within the book's pages are tales of true heroism, that of courageous students who are willing to struggle and persevere and finally succeed."
Leon Lederman
"I'm a big fan of international science fairs and have longed for a book that sings their praises. This book delivers in spades. These kids prove that the creativity and drive that make this country great are alive and well. If you're tired of hearing how American kids have fallen behind in terms of science education and otherwise, read this book for a renewed sense of hope."
President Barack Obama
"We must teach our kids that it's not just the winner of the Superbowl that needs to be celebrated but the winner of the science fair."
From the Publisher
"Dutton goes behind the scenes with twelve extraordinary kids. We are talking fourteen-year-olds who build nuclear reactors in their basements and train cockroaches to sniff for drugs. Two-year-olds who ask Santa for an extension cord. Their stories converge at the biggest science competition in the world, a sort of American Idol for geeks like me. An inspiring tale, deftly told."—Mary Roach, author of Stiff and Packing for Mars

"A genuine delight! It's exhilarating to see the spirit of history's great scientists in these students. Judy Dutton's tale is filled with drama and the adventure of scientific discovery. Glee with test tubes!"—Henry R. Schlesinger, author of The Battery: How Portable Power Sparked a Technological Revolution

"Despite the attention placed on athletics, our future will not be made by the boys and girls who play on America's lavish playing fields. Instead, everything we cherish depends on the sturdy young people who compete in the dusty halls of our science fairs. Within the book's pages are tales of true heroism, that of courageous students who are willing to struggle and persevere and finally succeed."—Homer Hickam, author of the #1 New York Times bestseller October Sky

"I'm a big fan of international science fairs and have longed for a book that sings their praises. This book delivers in spades. These kids prove that the creativity and drive that make this country great are alive and well. If you're tired of hearing how American kids have fallen behind in terms of science education and otherwise, read this book for a renewed sense of hope."—Leon Lederman, Nobel Laureate and author of The God Particle: If the Universe Is the Answer, What Is the Question?

"We must teach our kids that it's not just the winner of the Superbowl that needs to be celebrated but the winner of the science fair."—President Barack Obama, State of the Union Address

Kirkus Reviews

A heart-gladdening tale of 11 students contesting for top honors in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair.

The Intel ISEF showcases the work of 1,500 high schoolers across the globe vying for $4 million in prizes and scholarships. It is the first-stop recruiting venue for universities, research and development labs and medical programs. The quality of work is astounding; said one judge: "The level of sophistication in these projects is in many cases beyond the level of graduate school and doctoral research." Though Dutton (How We Do It: How the Science of Sex Can Make You a Better Lover, 2009) occasionally lapses into a schmaltzy mode—"The lesson I would learn from her was that the ultimate reward for doing science fairs isn't fame, or money, or college scholarships...It's about connecting with the people you care most about"—there is no denying her genuine admiration and affection for the contestants. The characters include Garrett, whose project brought heat and hot water to his hardscrabble family; BB, who brought her bout with leprosy to the fore; and Eliza, the anti-nerd, a rich, beautiful model who investigated the collapse of honeybee colonies and contended with her looks as a deterrent. Dutton describes the projects with an easeful clarity, illuminating the world of "the most hardworking, humbling, and heartbreaking group of young men and women."

It's been a while since science nerds were true outcasts, but this group shines in the best of oddball company.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781401323790
  • Publisher: Hyperion
  • Publication date: 4/19/2011
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 632,135
  • Product dimensions: 5.56 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.96 (d)

Meet the Author

Judy Dutton is a writer and editor living in Brooklyn, New York. After graduating from Harvard with a degree in English and American Literature, she's contributed to Cosmopolitan, Maxim, Glamour, Redbook, Women's Health, The Knot, The Nest, msn.com, Match.com, and other magazines. She's covered a range of topics including dating, relationships, sex, health, personal finance, news, and entertainment. She's also the author of How We Do It, an eye-opening look at the most groundbreaking scientific discoveries in the realm of sexual behavior. Visit her website: www.judy-dutton.com

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1

Chapter 1 The Radioactive Whiz Kid 11

Chapter 2 The Junkyard Genius 32

Chapter 3 "Me? Leprosy?" 53

Chapter 4 Stars Behind Bars 69

Chapter 5 Horse Therapy 89

Chapter 6 The Kid Who Took on Dupont 110

Chapter 7 The Meltdown 131

Chapter 8 Glove Boy 149

Chapter 9 Eliza and the Bees 168

Chapter 10 Listening to Lorena 187

Chapter 11 The Next Bill Gates 206

Chapter 12 The Super Bowl of Science Fairs 227

Chapter 13 "And the Winner is…" 243

Conclusion 259

Acknowledgments 269

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 21, 2014

    Judy is a great storyteller! I love this book. It's so uplifting

    Judy is a great storyteller! I love this book. It's so uplifting. Truly restores your faith in humanity. 

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 2, 2013

    Great book

    I actually met ryan patterson today. The book shows some bright minds in the USA

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 1, 2011

    My Hypothesis: You will Enjoy Reading Science Fair Season

    I was so in awe of these kids. The science fair is almost like an American rite of passage and when I remember my own limited experience with it (brain sizes versus intelligence in animals), I smile. It was a very good experience, but in the region where I grew up it wasn't something too many people pursued. And, while I liked doing some science stuff, it was mostly on my own--I liked creating experiments.

    I was fascinated by a lot of the projects, and I really liked how committed author Judy Dutton was at getting the story; Dutton got a very big picture of each individual kid and how they fit in the fair. My favorite projects were the autism project, the horse project, the bumblebee project and the green heating project.

    Kudos to author Judy Dutton, and to all of the kids she selected as part of her project. And, special thanks to NetGalley and Hyperion books for allowing me to review this!

    I received this book, in digital format, for my honest review. And I can honestly say, I was very impressed with it.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 20, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 15, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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